Most of the history taught in schools around the Cold War centres on tensions between the USA and the USSR and nuclear proliferation. However, the biggest destructive impact of this period was in the proxy wars fought in countries across the globe. Whilst Vietnam and Korea are the most famous examples, both sides were (often covertly) involved in numerous conflicts across Asia, Africa and Southern and Central America. Costa-Gavras’ multi-award-winning 1982 film Missing looks at the steep price of such interference.
Charles (John Shea) and Beth Horman (Sissy Spacek) are living in an unnamed Latin American country. When a bloody military coup breaks out, they’re caught in the middle of the violence but become separated. After Charles’ disappears, Beth is convinced that he’s been taken by the regime, but finds scant help from the American consul or embassy. His father, Ed (Jack Lemmon), arrives and is determined to discover what happened to his son. Despite Ed partly blaming Beth for the situation, they gradually form an uneasy bond as they fight to uncover the truth.
Missing is a powerful and emotive drama which shines the light on the atrocities secretly supported by the US government. Both Spacek and Lemon received Oscar nominations for their performances, and rightly so. They give the film a sense of gravitas whilst Costa-Gavras’ cleverly injects a growing tension and anxiety. Missing is unusual for an American film, especially from that era, because it takes an overly negative political stance. It’s an extraordinary real life story brought to life by exceptional film-making and committed acting.
Indicator Limited Edition Special Features:
• High Definition remaster
• Original mono audio
• The Guardian Interview with Costa-Gavras (1984, 85 mins): archival audio recording of an interview conducted by Derek Malcolm at London’s National Film Theatre
• The Guardian Interview with Jack Lemmon (1986, 116 mins): archival audio recording of an interview conducted by Jonathan Miller at the National Film Theatre
• Costa-Gavras: Cannes Film Festival Interview (1982, 3 mins): short interview with the director
• Costa-Gavras: Journal Antenne 2 Interview (1982, 4 mins): news article with journalist Christine Ockrent
• Many Americas (2006, 31 mins): Costa-Gavras reflects upon the production and reception of the film
• Freedom of Information (2006, 27 mins): Joyce Horman discusses the real-life events behind Missing and the experience of being portrayed on screen
• Politically Personal (2018, 24 mins): a new filmed appreciation by filmmaker and actor Keith Gordon
• Original theatrical trailer
• Image gallery: promotional photography and publicity material
• New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• Limited edition exclusive 40-page booklet with a new essay by Michael Pattison, an interview with Costa-Gavras, an interview with journalist Thomas Hauser, an overview of responses to the film, and extensive film credits
• UK premiere on Blu-ray•Limited Edition of 3,000 copies
Missing is released on Blu-ray by Powerhouse Films as part of the Indicator series on 27 August.